RTC chairman David Humke said this was an important day for the city of Sparks since it signified "the completion of a remarkable accomplishment." Humke said the new plaza will bring substantial benefits to the Washoe County.
"The new building is a landmark of the Sparks community,” Humke said. “The people involved in creating the plaza wanted it to be an important part of Victorian Square, which is why a mural and sculpture have been created."
The sculpture, which was created by artist Donald Lipski, is a "40-foot cow catcher that is reminiscent of the Sparks railroad history," Humke said. There are also steel beam cutouts and a historic mural by local artist Loren Jahn. Sparks Councilman John Mayer pointed out the great amount of detail in the mural.
"If you look closely, you can even see where the artist incorporated my grandparent's house," Mayer said.
The transit center also includes space for rotating local art exhibits. The first exhibit being displayed is a black and white historical photo exhibit provided by the Sparks Heritage Museum.
Not only is the new building aesthetically pleasing, but it is also environmentally friendly.
"The building is LEED certified,” Mayer said. “LEED is a certification program of the United States Green Building Council which rates buildings on many factors, such as energy and water efficiency, sustainable development and use of materials."
Alongside RTC board members Hemke and Mayer, Sparks Mayor Geno Martini spoke at the ceremony.
"I was at the ground breaking ceremony for this project two years and eight months ago and am happy to be at the dedication ceremony here today,” Martini said. “This is a great day for Sparks.”
Martini went on to explain the impact improving public transportation will have on Sparks.
"This is a rapidly growing community, and an investment in transportation is important to the quality of life among members of the Truckee Meadows,” Martini said. “This is something you should keep in mind when you vote."
Martini was referring to two different propositions that will be included on the Nov. 4 ballot. The first proposition, RTC #2, is a question of whether or not the Washoe County Board of Commissioners should impose an additional 1/8 of general sales for public transit. The second proposition, RTC #5, is a question of whether or not the Washoe County Board of Commissioners can seek state legislation for RTC to receive additional funding for transportation projects.
"I am a believer in these proposals because I think public transportation is an important part of our community," Martini said.
The effort to complete the new center was one shared by several different groups.
"This project required efforts among local officials, community members and the private sector," Humke said. Nugget hotel and casino owner John Ascuaga was a representative of the private sector who helped to make the transit center a reality. According to Mayer, Ascuaga owned the land that the center currently stands on, and agreed on the appraisal price presented by RTC without argument.
"Without your (Ascuaga's) cooperation, this would not have been possible," Mayer said.
This initiative was an important one in Ascuaga's view.
"We have 2,000 employees, and many of them depend on public transportation to get to work," Ascuaga said, adding that he is pleased with the new station and believes it will become an important part of Victorian Square.
"It is nice to hear some positive news, and this is exactly that,” Ascuaga said. “This is a very promising project that will help improve public transportation in our community.”
Buses will begin running through the center Sunday. Bus schedules may change with the new station. Any questions regarding the schedule or questions about the new facility can be answered by calling 348-7433 or by visiting www.rtcwashoe.com.